One of the main ways that our body gets nutrients is through vitamins. Vitamins make up half of all micronutrients, which are organic compounds that our body requires from our food in small amounts. However, even though they’re only necessary in small quantities, each milligram or microgram is critical to our health.
Our bodies do not produce these vitamins, so we need to get them primarily from our food. There’s only one exception – our bodies don’t get enough vitamin D from our food, so we have adapted to synthesize it from sunlight.
There are 13 different vitamins out there, and each is integral to one or several essential processes within our body. For example, vitamin A is essential to eye health, while vitamin B3 supports cell growth and function.
Today, we’ll explore the two different types of vitamins found today – fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. Then, we’ll explain how they’re ingested and how each acts within the body.
Fat vs Water-Soluble Vitamins
When we’re trying to eat healthy, it’s important to understand how our body digests and absorbs different types of nutrients. Otherwise, it’s easy to eat foods that don’t offer your body what it needs. In some situations, eating too many of one type of vitamin can lead to a build-up in the body, causing a condition known as hypervitaminosis.
There are two ways that our body absorbs vitamins – either through fat or through water. Let’s talk about each type below.
What Are Water-Soluble Vitamins?
Water-soluble vitamins are vitamins that can dissolve in water, which is how they’re absorbed into our bodies. Because they’re carried in water, it’s hard for them to build up in our body, since any excess that isn’t used is quickly excreted in our urine.
Since no excess water-soluble vitamins are stored by our body for long-term use, it’s important to make sure that we’re getting enough on a regular basis. If we don’t consume them regularly, deficiencies will quickly follow. It’s also possible to have a deficiency that’s caused by poor absorption, due to a disease or condition that affects how the body processes this vitamin.
Some of the most popular water-soluble vitamins include:
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
- Vitamin C
What Are Fat-Soluble Vitamins?
Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins that are absorbed through foods that contain fat or oil. They cannot dissolve in water. Typically, these vitamins are found in the highest quantities in fatty or oil-rich foods, such as meat, dairy, cheese, fish, or eggs. However, they can also be found in smaller quantities in fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Unlike water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body for long-term use. Any excess that isn’t used immediately is stored in the liver and fatty tissue, instead of being flushed away. Because of this, fat-soluble vitamin overdoses are more prevalent than overdoses on water-soluble vitamins.
Some of the most common fat-soluble vitamins include:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Getting Enough Vitamins in Your Diet
Both fat and water-soluble vitamins are critical to keeping our body healthy and functioning well. While there are plenty of vitamin and mineral supplements out there, the best way to get your daily recommended dose is to eat a healthy and varied diet. Natural foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, meat, dairy, and other animal products have the highest number of vitamins.
Most of the foods that make up a healthy diet contain lots of vitamins, and if we choose whole, unprocessed foods most of the time, it’s easy to meet our body’s daily vitamin and mineral needs.
However, if your body still isn’t getting enough of certain types of vitamins and minerals, you may want to opt for a supplement. Our personalized supplements are based on your unique genetic needs and offer a customized formula that’s both vegan and gluten-free. Try them today as part of any GenoPalate DNA Nutrition Test.